A Florida woman has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs out of $394,800.85 in benefits that were paid to her.
Veronica Dale Hahn, 60, of Bonifay, Florida, was sentenced to 9 months in federal prison for receiving disability payments for 100% service related blindness in both eyes over a period of approximately 15 years.
Hahn told various doctors within the Veterans Health Administration and in private practice that she was almost completely blind. However, within a year of receiving her disability benefits for loss of vision, she obtained driver’s licenses in New Mexico, Alabama, and Florida with no vision restrictions, after passing vision exams in each state with at least 20/40 vision.
During this time, Hahn was also observed driving her personal automobile on numerous occasions. Further, she worked full time as a case manager and transition counselor at several state correctional facilities. All of these activities required normal eyesight to perform her duties.
The case was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of the Inspector General, and the sentencing was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
Canova said in a statement:
Instead of providing benefits and assistance to worthy veterans who are justifiably in need, significant resources from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs were diverted to uncover an extensive and persistent fraud by Ms. Hahn, who repeatedly gave dishonest information and collected hundreds of thousands of dollars to which she was not entitled. This case sends the message that you cannot make false disability claims and just walk away from such a crime.